Some have referred to the Tri-State Track Coaches Association's cross-country meet at Cooper's Lake in Slippery Rock Thursday as a dry run for the WPIAL championships.
But, on the face of it, the race was more like a wet run as rain doused the grounds in Butler County about an hour before the boys championship race, before turning into a gentle rain.
What was evident is that the favorites for the WPIAL Class AAA boys and girls team championships next Thursday lived up to their billing.
The North Allegheny boys placed its five scoring runners in the top 13 and won that classification with 49 points. Mt. Lebanon was second (139) and Central Catholic third (187). Mt. Lebanon's girls team placed all five runners in the top 22 to capture first with 54 points. North Allegheny was second (135).
North Allegheny coach John Neff said the race was valuable in getting his boys team ready for the WPIAL championships.
"We were very happy with the way we ran here," Neff said. "But [Thursday] was just about practicing for next week."
The Tigers balance was evident as senior Josh Zemet, junior Cordon Luoco and sophomores --Matt McGoey, Scott Seel and Seamus Love-- secured the victory.
"I can't imagine anybody not coming up here and taking advantage of this," Neff said. "Familiarity breeds comfort."
For the Mt. Lebanon girls, junior Jillian Hunsberger finished third , freshman Kelsey Potts fourth and senior Julie Kocjancic ninth.
Individual honors went to Grove City's Daniel Jaskowak and Shaler Area's Brianna Schwartz. Jaskowak, a senior, and Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy broke from a pack while running up a hill at about the 2-mile mark.
The two dueled for the last half-mile with Kennedy taking a brief lead with about 300 meters left. Jaskowak finished in 15:36, one second ahead of Kennedy. Allderdice's Ean DiSilvio was third(16:01).
Schwartz, a sophomore, and North Hills junior Mary Malone broke from away about a mile into the 3.1-mile race. Schwartz took the lead for good after the 2-mile mark and finished in 18:10. Malone was 22 seconds back.